Baby Safety Basics

Suffocation

Disaster waiting to happen:

You've brought your newborn home from the hospital. Her crib is stocked with stuffed animals, a fluffy pillow, and a cozy quilt, and you can't wait to put her down for a nap.

Playing it safe:

To minimize your baby's risk of suffocation, keep soft toys and bedding out of her crib, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. The safest way to keep her warm at night is to dress her in a sleeper. But if you prefer a blanket, use a thin one. Place her feet at the bottom of the crib and tuck the blanket snugly under the mattress, making sure it comes up no higher than chest level. Always lay your baby on her back to prevent sudden infant death syndrome.

And do keep your baby in the crib, says the Consumer Product Safety Commission. According to a recent CPSC study, nearly 600 babies have died since 1990 as a result of sleeping in an adult bed; many were smothered when a parent rolled onto them or when they became wedged between the mattress and a wall or a piece of furniture. Although some child-rearing experts argue that the risks posed by sharing a bed have been exaggerated, the CPSC strongly advises against it.

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